Message #117
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Date:	Wed, 19 Mar 1998
Subject: Salmon Ruins Is A Poorly-Managed Dump

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

Cross-Posted from NMAC-L

From:	David A. Phillips Jr

On March 17, the Farmington Daily Times ran a two-part
story on Salmon Ruins. Here is the first part; the
second part will be posted to NMAC-L in the near future.

Salmon Ruin in Ruins
Bloomfield site hopes to get help from county

Dave Burge, Staff Writer
Bloomfield—A museum case is empty. Interpretive signs
around the Navajo folk art exhibit are so faded they're
difficult to read. Weeds are growing through the nearby
parkland and around an Ancestral Pueblo ruin.

Salmon Ruins, one of San Juan County's major tourist
attractions, is in serious disarray.

"It all comes down to money," said Larry Baker, the
executive director for Salmon Ruins, the accompanying
museum and Heritage Park, which preserves the Salmon
family homestead. "It's very discouraging that we don't
have the appropriate funds to maintain this thing as it
should be maintained."

The center, which is run by the San Juan County Museum
Association, hasn't been able to affort a maintenance
person since 1995.

"You're looking at the plumber; you're looking at the
electrician," Baker said.

Baker and Kurt Mantonya, who is the center's educational
coordinator, have been trying to do the maintenance work
themselves, but it seems to be a losing battle.

"Kurt and I are the maintenance staff with some
volunteer assistance," Baker said. "He cuts weeds and
waters the trees in Heritage Park. He gets the weeks off
the ruins. I'm changing light bulbs. I'm the plumber."

Baker recently asked the County Commission to give his
organization $29,772, which would be used to hire a
full-time maintenance person, pay the center's utility
bills for a year and finance repairs to the complex's
observation deck. The county is expected to discuss the
request sometime in April.

"What's in it for the county?" Baker said. "We bring
school kids here for alternative educational programs.
We bring in tourists and dollars to the region, and we
protect nonrenewable cultural resources.

"Some people come to the Four Corners just to visit
archaeological sites.  Salmon is a component of that.
We're a draw that brings dollars to Farmington,
Bloomfield, and Aztec."

The Salmon Ruins complex attracted 10,000 visitors last
year. An additional 3,300 schoolchildren visited the
center for organized tours and field trips.

The ruins complex is charged with preserving Salmon
Ruins, which is an Ancestral Pueblo complex dating from
the late 11th century, and the Salmon homestead, which
is one of Bloomfield's original Anglo settlements.

The ruin has been listed on the National Register of
Historic Places since 1970, and the homestead has been
on the State Register of Cultural Properties since 1989.
In theory, the Salmon Ruins complex is supposed to be
self-sufficient. It operates on an annual budget of
approximately $145,000. The center has three full-time
staff members, including Baker and a weekend receptionist.
This year, the county gave the center $15,000. The other
$130,000 had to be raised through the center's
archaeological consulting firm, which does work for the
oil and gas industry and free-lance ruin stabilization
jobs, and by other means. Other sources of revenue are
admission to the ruins complex, grants, and the gift shop.

The main source of revenue, however, is the consulting
business, which the museum complex operates. "They remain
the main source for the museum to keep its doors open
and its lights on," Baker said. "Hopefully, they give
us the money we need, and they do enough work to run a
net profit."

For the last six years, however, the consulting business
has struggled, Baker said, which has made it tough on the
ruins and museum.

"It depends on the local economy," Baker said.

In early 1997, Salmon Ruins was in serious danger of
having to shut its doors. The county came through with
an emergency grant of about $26,000, which kept the
complex from closing.

This year, things are a little better, Baker said.

The county gave the center $15,000 for operational
expenses, and Henry Jackson of Aztec donated $32,000 to
the center.

"The level of work for (the archaeological consulting firm)
has picked up a little," Baker said.

Still, Salmon Ruins needs some help.

"Were not doing justice to a National Register property,"
Baker said. "It's unfortunate."

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